How to Build Stamina for Running

How to Build Stamina for Running
In order to benefit from any form of aerobic exercise, you must be able to sustain that exercise for at least 20 minutes. Some sports medicine experts believe that you need 30 minutes to an hour. Runners who seek that coveted "runner's high" know that endorphin rush usually happens on longer runs. While many people are aware of this information, some soon discover that it is easier said than done. By using a logical and systematic plan, you will gradually improve your cardiovascular endurance. When this happens, you will reap the health rewards of running.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Building Running Endurance

Things You’ll Need:
  • Running shoes Running clothes Bottle of water
  • Running shoes
  • Running clothes
  • Bottle of water
Step 1
Select properly fitting running shoes and clothing. Shoes that hurt your feet will do little to improve your stamina. Running clothes that do not wick moisture will make you feel sweaty and uncomfortable.
Step 2
Get and stay hydrated. Hydration is directly related to endurance. Drink water before your run. If possible, carry a water bottle in your waist pack.
Step 3
Begin your running workout with a brisk walk. Most runners find that the first 10 minutes of the run are the hardest. If you try to push too hard during this period, you will tire too soon. By starting with a brisk walk, you allow for a gradual rise in heart rate. This will help you sustain your activity for a longer period of time.
Step 4
Breathe. Running is an aerobic exercise, and aerobics means with oxygen. Improper breathing can result in painful side stitches or lack of endurance. Experiment with rhythmic breathing. Breath in for two counts and out for two counts. If you can match your breathing to your running pace, you will develop an even rhythm. Many people find that this even rhythm helps them get into the "zone." When this happens, you might feel as if you can run forever.
Step 5
Fartlek. Fartlek is a Swedish word for speed play. While it is usually used for developing speed, it can also improve running stamina. Fartlek involves throwing periodic bursts of speed into a running session. The speed interval is followed by a recovery period. During recovery, your perceived exertion will be altered. Since by comparison, it is obviously easier on your body than the speed interval, you will feel that you have the stamina to run longer.
Step 6
Run hills. Hill training is another example of how you can alter your perceived exertion. After running a hill, flat land running feels easy.
Step 7
Walk at the end of your run. Your body is still burning calories at an accelerated pace. Take advantage of this, and extend your workout by adding a walk.

Tips & Warnings

Some people find that running with a friend helps build stamina.
Avoid over-training. If you run at night, wear reflective clothing. If you run on trails, be sure to wear special trail running shoes.
Avoid over-training.
If you run at night, wear reflective clothing.
If you run on trails, be sure to wear special trail running shoes.

Article Written By Lisa Mercer

In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.